Romanian crime gang who amassed £3 million from 11 'meticulously planned' jewellery store raids across the UK are jailed for 47 years

Ioan Bucuresteanu       Silvu Acatrinei

A Romanian crime gang set up camp and cycled to jewellers across the country armed with sledgehammers and set cars alight to block police in a string of burglaries where they stole more than £3 million worth of property.
Six men were jailed for 47 years today for offences, including a £644,900 raid on a store in Milton Keynes, committed between November 2015 and September 2016.
Watches, rings and necklaces were stolen in a series of 11 raids, including at Bluewater shopping centre in Kent and Bicester Village in Oxford, described as 'meticulously planned' by the detective running the investigation.
Sledgehammers were used to gain entry to shops and fires were set to hamper the efforts of emergency services. 
Detective Chief Inspector Ricky Fields said the group could be linked to the notorious Romanian Crime Academy as several of the members came from the same region of the country and employed similar strategies.


The Romanian Crime Academy recruits men and provides a strict code for its members as well as training in numerous techniques, such as avoiding being followed as well as understanding forensic evidence. 
He said: 'They employed a number of strategies including cycling to the scenes of their crimes and cordoning off sections of road to reduce traffic and observers. 
'They also pitched tents, typically two to three miles from the scene of the crime and buried their waste in a bid to avoid DNA being gathered.' 
Vasile Cardos
Andrei Tifui
Six men were jailed for 47 years today for offences, including a £644,900 raid on a store in Milton Keynes, committed between November 2015 and September 2016. Pictured, Vasile Cardos (left) and Andrei Tifui
Bogdan Costel Neagu, 24, was given eight years and two months, Ioan Bucuresteanu, 24, received eight years and Vasile Daniel Cardos, 26, was sentenced to eight years and two months.
Silvu Ioan Acatrinei, 20, was sentenced to eight years two months, Andrei Florin Tifui, 28, was given eight years and two months and Ioachim Karp, 19, was given six years six months for aggravated burglary and conspiracy.
DCI Fields became involved in the investigation after a branch of Beaverbrooks was raided in the early hours of 10 March, 2016 in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.
A total of £400,000 worth of watches were stolen during the break-in.  
Bogdan Costel Neagu
Ioachim Karp
Watches, rings and necklaces were stolen in a series of 11 raids. Pictured, Bogdan Costel Neagu (left) and Ioachim Karp
'We're dealing with a group of individuals who are extremely organised and forensically aware,' he said.  
He added: 'This was a highly organised Romanian crime group who, thanks to great partnership working between all forces, we were able to bring to justice.
'I hope the sentences handed out today send out a strong message - Staffordshire Police, along with other forces, will not tolerate such crime in our communities and we will take positive action against those involved.' 
DC Nathan Fish, of Lancashire Constabulary's CID, said: 'This ruthless and highly-organised group went on a country-wide crime spree which included a burglary at The Mall in Blackburn. 
Offenders drove a Ford Mondeo into the Bluewater shopping centre (pictured), parked up and set the car alight during one raid
Offenders drove a Ford Mondeo into the Bluewater shopping centre (pictured), parked up and set the car alight during one raid
During this particular incident the men caused significant damage to the shopping centre by smashing their way in with sledgehammers and setting a fire, before making off with a large amount of high value jewellery.' 
DS Claudia Musson, from Derbyshire Constabulary, said: 'The organisation and professionalism shown by this group of criminals cannot be underestimated.
'The sentences handed down today should serve as a clear message that this criminality will not be tolerated.
A further man is due to be sentenced on March 28. 
 The men were sentenced at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court (pictured) for the offences
 The men were sentenced at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court (pictured) for the offences

TIMELINE OF ROMANIAN GANG RAIDS... 

21 November 2015 – Fraser Hart, Milton Keynes 
Seven offenders were seen on CCTV uing sledgehammers to gain access to the entrance door 7 of the Arcade. 
They set a fire by the doors and used sledgehammers to smash the window and steal jewellery including diamond rings worth £329,135 and 52 Tag Heuer watches worth £105,000 to a total of £644,900.
31 December 2015 – Goldsmiths, Oxford 
Offenders smashed their way into the shopping centre through the doors in Cornmarket Street and ripped off an external shutter at the jewellers before stealing 42 Omega watches worth £148,130 and 31 Breitling watches worth £122,930 and jewellery to a total of £273,000.
9 February 2016 – Chris Shan Jewellers, Blackburn, Lancashire 
Offenders smashed their way into the store and one set a fire by a door to prevent access to emergency services. 
Around £450,000 worth of jewellery was stolen.  
10 March 2016 – Beaverbrooks, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent 
The front door of the shopping centre was smashed and a fire was set to hamper the efforts of emergency services.
Around £389,000 worth of jewellery was stolen. Offenders wore head torches and masks.
7 April 2016 – Beaverbrooks, Basingstoke, Hampshire 
Offenders smashed their way into the store and a scaffolding pole was used to wedge open the shutters. A fire was set and around £379,000 worth of jewellery was stolen. 
20 June 2016 – Breitling store, Bluewater, Kent 
Offenders drove a Ford Mondeo into the Bluewater shopping centre, parked up and set the car alight.
Six offenders used sledgehammers to smash the windows of the store and stole £264,900 worth of watches. 
26 July 2016 – Ernest Jones, Portsmouth 
Seven males smashed the entrance to Cascades shopping centre and started a fire by the door.
Prior to the break in, tyres were set alight and a chain placed between shutters and a bench to block access. Watches worth £57,860 were stolen.
5 August 2016 – Montblanc, Bicester Village, Oxfordshire 
A group of men smashed the front window at around 4am and a smoke cloak activated deterring the offenders. 
23 August 2016 – Ernest Jones, Derby 
Seven men set fire to large industrial bins on the main road leading to the centre. They used sledgehammers to smash their way into the centre and stole jewellery worth a total of £343,394.  
25 August 2016 – Fraser Hart, Peterborough 
Five men with sledgehammers struck the window of the store. Around £192,000 worth of diamond rings were stolen. 
7 September 2016 – Poel Jewellers, Stratford-upon-Avon 
Offenders smashed their way into the shop at 11am and grabbed ten Rolex watches worth £160,000.

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